A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist has created a new weapon in the war being waged against the potato cyst nematode-a diagnostic test that identifies the type of nematode infesting a grower's field.
Xiaohong Wang, a molecular biologist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health in Ithaca, N.Y., has filed a patent application on the monitoring tool, developed in part by cloning and sequencing key genes. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency. This research supports the USDA priorities of ensuring food safety and promoting international food security.
There are two types of potato cyst nematode (PCN), the golden nematode and the pale cyst nematode. Being able to tell one from the other is important because breeders have developed potatoes that can resist the golden nematode, but have yet to develop varieties that resist the pale cyst nematode. If the pale cyst nematode is found in a field, potatoes cannot be grown there.